It’s App time!

Over the past year I have come to find out about and love a couple apps. These apps make finding vegan options a snap! Whether it is finding the nearest vegan restaurant, or scanning a bar code at the store and finding out if it is vegan, or finding out what companies are behind certain products; the world of technology has made being vegan so much easier for me.

It can be a pretty daunting task (especially at first) to try and go vegan. You more or less are instantly trying to know what every ingredient in your food is and if it is vegan or not. Many of these apps take a lot of the guess work out of figuring out what is in your food. Not only will these apps tell you what isn’t vegan in your food, but it will tell you what it is. This has been really educational for me. I think some of these apps have been a life saver for my boyfriend, whom recently went vegan.

My list is pretty short, but I use these couple of apps all the time. These are great apps if you are just starting out being vegan, you are traveling to a new city, or if you just want to get some additional information about your food.

Here is my list of my favorite vegan related apps:

InRFood

inrfoodInRFood is an app that lets you set food guidelines, such as vegan, gluten free, or nut free etc. The app looks up foods using their bar codes and lists out the all the ingredients. It will highlight ingredients to inform you of their nutritional quality. Ingredients that appear red are items to avoid, yellow is for moderate consumption and green is safe/nutritious.

You are also able to click on every ingredient in the product and get a ton of information on that ingredient, as well as articles and videos about that ingredient.

Besides just scanning items, you can also search for them. This is helpful when the bar code is damaged. You can also search by ingredient name.

In the event that the app can’t find a product you scan, you can pretty easily add it.

Buycott

buycottBuycott is a app that helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles. When you open the app you can add campaigns that reflect your morals.

So say you would like to avoid purchasing products that support Monsanto. You can add that campaign to your app. And when you look up/scan products it will let you know if the product is ok to purchase. If the product does support Monsanto, it will list out why and how it supports the company.

There are tons of different campaigns you can add to reflect your moral beliefs.

This app is really empowering and has helped me to feel like I am spending my money in the right places.

 

Yelp

Yelp-AppI know you probably know about Yelp, but I really do use this app a lot. It helps me to find nearby…anything. I use this app to find stores and their hours.

But perhaps, most importantly I use it to find restaurants with vegan options! I generally know what has vegan options in my area, but I have found Yelp’s vegan/vegetarian restaurant search option, to be very helpful when I am in a unfamiliar area. Plus the user reviews always help me figure out if the vegan options are worthwhile.

Cruelty-Free

Cruelty-FreeThis app lists out personal care, cleaning and other day-to-day type products and their status as cruelty free brand. Once you find a brand/company you like, you can click on the company and get a brief description of the company’s practices.

You can look things up by company or product.

I think it can be very hard to decipher what some of the ingredients are in personal care/cosmetics. This app really helps if cruelty-free isn’t listed somewhere on the label.

So there is a list of my favorite vegan related apps! While there isn’t a ton, each app has a ton of information, and information is power! These apps help me to stay vegan, in a confusing world. All I can say is, yay for technology!

What are some of your favorite food related apps?

Influenster Naturals VoxBox 2012

I know that product reviews not related to food isn’t normally my thing. However, I do strive to use green, eco-friendly, and vegan products in my day to day life. When I was presented the opportunity to try a bunch of products for free, I jumped on it. These products were sent to me by Influenster for review purposes only. I didn’t receive any compensation. I hope that you guys know I would only give you my honest opinions of these products. I hope that I can turn you on to some new products you may have never heard of or have been wanting to try.

The Original Dish Drying Mat: $4.99

The original Dish Drying Mat is a unique, laminated design that combines a thin layer of foam between two layers of high quality, super absorbent mirco-fiber for a new dish washing experience that conserves energy and paper towels by air drying, and saves water by hand-washing.

My opinion: I was actually happy when I saw this product. I already own one, and I love it. I hand wash many of my pots, pans and knives and I thought it would be great to have a backup for when one needs to be thrown in the wash. For the price of $4.99, I think this product is well worth it.

Geodeo: $5.99 for 2.3oz stick

Reach a new level of purity, keeping you fresh for 24-hour odor protection. Geodeo Natural Deodorant Plus Detox Complex is a natural-derived, breakthrough eco-technology, specially formulated to be safe for your body and your world. 

My opinion: With most natural deodorants I have noticed it doesn’t do a very good job with odor protection. If I start to break a sweat at all and I notice the odor. With this product, at first, I really liked it, but after using it for a couple days I noticed the same problem I have had in the past. The smell came back. I think this is a pretty darn good product, but if you are like me and don’t take a shower every single day, this might not be the best product for you.

Overall I would say give this product a try. It isn’t super expensive, and maybe your underarm odor isn’t as bad as mine 😉

Country Life Maxi-Hair Maximized: $17.99 for 60 tablets

Bring life back to your hair, skin and nails, with Country Life’s Maxi-Hair Maximized dietary supplements. This supplement complex with focus on B-vitamins, biotin and MSM brings new meaning to beauty from the inside-out.

My opinion: When I read this product was focusing partly on biotin, I knew it wouldn’t be a good match for me. I was having some bad acne a couple years back and heard biotin was great for helping clear skin. Well after taking it for a couple days, I found my acne had gotten much worse! I know biotin is great from some people, but not for my body. For this reason I cannot recommend this product. PLUS it ISN’T vegan, for my vegan readers.

Nectresse: $3.99 for 40 servings, $6.99 for 140 servings

Nectresse sweetener tastes like sugar but with zero calories per serving! 100% all natural, Nectresse is made primarily from monk fruit, combined with other natural sweeteners.

My opinion: This product reminds me very much of stevia. I am not a huge fan of that flavor, it reminds me of sweet n’ low. It wasn’t as noticeable a flavor in a strongly brewed cup of tea. Overall it isn’t bad if you don’t mind a similar flavor to stevia. However I am not really sure how I feel about the packaging. Seems a bit wasteful and non-eco friendly.

CleanWell Individual Hand Sanitizer Wipes: $29.99 for 50 pouches

CleanWell wipes clean up messes and kill germ with all natural ingredients that are easy on the earth. Their mild ingredients are great for hands and faces, and one-use packet is ideal for all your on-the-go activities!

My opinion: First off, I will say I am not a big users of hand sanitizers. I used this product one day at work when I made a mess on my hands eating. First thing I noticed was the smell, ick! I reminded me of pepto bismol. Once I got past the smell and actually used the wipe, I found that I liked it. It did its job of cleaning and didn’t leave my hands super dried out.

If I were looking to purchase a hand sanitizer wipe, I would definitely give these ones a go. Not a big fan of the smell, but I think that can be overlooked. Again, I am not sure how I feel about the packaging, but I believe CleanWell sells a hand sanitizing gel, which if recycled, I feel is more eco-friendly.

EBoost: $28 for a box of 20 effervescent powders, $39 for a box of 30 effervescent powders, $39 for a box of 12 shots

EBoost will boost your mood, focus, and immunity with natural ingredients and no crash. As a shot or an easy-to-mix powder and in four flavors, you’ll feel great whether you choose Orange, Pink Lemonade, Acai Pomegranate or Super Berry.

My opinion: I got the orange flavor, as I am sure you could see, and I honestly hated the flavor. The taste was terrible. To get it down I had to chug it and wash it down with a glass of water. Although it tasted terrible, it did do what it promised. I had a ton of energy, and didn’t crash. I drank this about 12pm and still had energy till just about bedtime at 10:30pm.

I am not much for energy drinks or the like, but if you are looking for an energy boost EBoost might be just what you need. I feel like they are kind of expensive, but they maybe a better option than a Red Bull.

LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer: $2.87 to $2.99

With pure Swedish beeswax, organic shea butter, and vitamins A and E, LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer will give your lips long-lasting, deep penetrating moisture and lip care protection to moisturize, soften, and protect your lips naturally for a healthy pucker.

My opinion: First let me start off with the issue of beeswax and honey being vegan. At the time of receiving this box I was unsure about my stance of beeswax and honey. Because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bee product issue, I decided that I would give this product a try, for review sake. Since then I have really gotten clear on this issue, and I have decided that I personally don’t feel right using products from bees. Not to start a debate on the issue, just thought I would clarify before proceeding with this part of the review.

This product did seem to help my lips out a lot. At the time they were chapped a lot and this product did seem to provide relief. It also seemed to improve the overall condition of my lips. I think this would be a good natural product if you are not concerned with the issue mentioned above. I haven’t done a ton of research on this company, so I cannot tell you a lot about their business practices. I would say if you are interested in this product to do some research into the company and see what they are about.

Alright everyone, that is my review for the Influenster Naturals VoxBox 2012. I hope that it was helpful for you. I spent a lot of time trying to be as honest as possible. I tried to separate out my personal beliefs and give an objective review. If you have tried out any of these products and have a different opinion please feel free to share it. The more info we all can learn from the better!

“Pigs” in a Blanket and Creamy Dill Potato Salad

So here in Colorado we have been having some summer like weather. Summer weather always makes me feel kinda nostalgic. I start to remember summers running around the mountains, picnics and BBQs. One of the best summer side dishes is a good potato salad. When I found this recipe for potato salad, my mouth started to water.

When trying to come up with something to have with the potato salad, I remembered having pigs in a blanket on picnics. So I decided to try and make my own adult vegan version of pigs in a blanket. Here is what I came up with:

Creamy Dill Potato Salad

Based on a recipe by Healthy. Happy. Life

  • 1 lb mini potatoes, halved/quartered
  • 1 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons vegan mayo, Vegenaise
  • 2 tablespoons spicy/Dijon mustard
  • 6-8 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped (stems and fronds)
  • sprinkle of cayenne or more to taste
  • fresh black pepper and sea salt, to taste

Prep all your ingredients. Scrub your potatoes well. Halve and quarter them. Smaller potato bits will cook faster.

Bring salted cold water and potatoes to a boil. Cook until tender – do not over cook or you will end up with more of a “mashed” potato salad. I like to rinse my cooked potatoes in cold water to halt cooking.

Toss all the ingredients into the warm potatoes – and then chill until ready to serve. Doing this will allow the flavors to marinade nicely, it will also  make your creamy potato salad sauce a bit thinner.

Chill your salad until ready to be served – or serve warm. Drizzle with a bit of good olive oil and fresh black pepper over top.

“Pigs” in a Blanket

  • vegan pizza dough
  • 2 pkgs Field Roast Grain Meat Sausages (I used Smoked Apple Sage and Mexican Chipotle)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • vegan miso mayo or dijon mustard, for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove sausages from packaging and cut in half. Set aside.

Flatten out pizza dough and cut into 16 even size pieces. Take one piece of dough and place a layer of spinach in the center and top with a piece of sausage. Wrap dough around spinach and sausage. Seal seam of dough with a little bit of water.

Place on a lined baking sheet, seem side down. Brush each one with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is cooked and golden brown.

Serve with a little bit of miso mayo or dijon mustard on the side.

I just wanted to do a mini review on these sausages because I liked them so much. Before going vegetarian I had a huge love for chicken apple sausages. I would try and work them into anything I was cooking. Or I would just buy a couple, cook them and eat them on their own. Well the Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages are the closest thing I have found to my beloved chicken apple sausages. They are packed full of flavor and have a pleasing, non-mushy texture.

As you all may or may not know, I am kind of a wuss when it comes to spicy food. I think the Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages are spicy! Usually when something has hot & spicy on the label, I take it with a grain of salt. Often times things that are labeled hot & spicy are something I can easily handle. Well these babies kicked this girls butt.

My boyfriend was surprised by the heat of them also, but he liked them. Unlike me, Rob isn’t a heat/spice wuss. They do have a good flavor before the heat sets in. I am not saying any of this to deter you from getting these. But if you are a heat wuss like me, this flavor might not be the best choice for you.

Overall the Field Roast sausages are delicious and packed full a flavor. I paid about $4.99 a package and I feel they are worth that price. I will defiantly be using these again.

As always, if you try any of these recipes I would love to hear your feedback. And if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Review on Gardein Home Style Beefless Tips

So I had a rough weekend. And when it came to having something to eat for lunch today, I didn’t feel like cooking. So I opted to try some more of the meatless meats. Grabbed the Gardein Home Style Beefless Tips and a bag of frozen cilantro lime rice.

A bit more about the Gardein Brand. All of their “meats” are certified vegan by Vegan Action. They  are “committed to producing foods that people just love to eat, are good for you and are light on the planet.” I found their products at Target, not sure where else they are available. But there is more info about where you can purchase their products on their site www.gardein.com.

I quickly browned up the “beef” and microwaved the rice. And boom! Instant lunch. Of course I couldn’t wait until today to try it, so I took a couple bites. I was pleasantly surprised. They had a pretty good beefy flavor as well as smelling really yummy. I have noticed with some fake meats can smell a little plastic-y sometimes, at least to me. The combo of the beefless beef and the cilantro lime rice kinda reminds me of a Chipotle burrito bowl. So this could be a good option for a vegan missing Chipotle.

All that being said my only complaint would be the texture. It was a bit too soft for me. It didn’t really have the meat like texture I was looking for. I suppose this could be a good or bad thing depending on your taste in texture. I just felt like it blended in a bit too much with the rice. But maybe I just needed to brown the “meat” a bit longer.

Overall defiantly a good purchase. I will most likely buy this again and experiment. With the good meaty flavor and smell, I see this being a great replacement for beef. I am also looking forward to trying some of Gardein’s other “meat” products. I am sure the buffalo wings will be great to satisfy any cravings for wings I might have. Hope this was helpful for those of you that might be thinking about trying this product.

As always, if you give this product a try, let me know what you think. And if there are any products you would like me to try, please let me know!

Review on La Favorita Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito

So I went to a concert last night (No Bragging Rights & Casey Jones, if you were interested) and I didn’t end up getting home until like 12. Needless to say getting up for work this morning was a little rough. I took my sweet time to get ready, so I didn’t have any time to make my  morning breakfast smoothie. So I ended up hitting the grocery store for breakfast. I grabbed the La Favorita Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito. I thought I would share my thoughts on it in case anyone was thinking about trying them. These are available in the frozen food section and cost about $1.99.

I would say the taste lives up to what they claim. Does have a homemade taste (more of a reheated homemade burrito taste, if that makes any sense). I would request a bit more salt just to bring out flavors, but maybe that is just me. It was pretty tasty, but I found myself wishing I has some salsa to put on top of or in it.

A couple of complaints. There was only cheese on one half of the burrito. I didn’t even know there was cheese until I started eating the last half. I also found that once the burrito started to cool off end of the tortilla starts to get rubbery, which is something fairly common with frozen food items.

Overall, in a pinch or if you want something quick and easy, I would say give these burritos a try. They have several other kinds of burritos, most not vegetarian. Just keep in mind that it is something from the frozen food section so it isn’t going to be mind blowingly good.

Let me know if any of you guys are interested in posts like this. I can do more of these if it is something anyone is interested in. And sorry I don’t have an actual picture of the burrito, I pretty much inhaled the thing. Until next time happy eating!